Outside of businesses taking financial hits, perhaps much of the angst in the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic was felt by parents. From being forced to shift to at-home learning for the kids to day care shutdowns, it would be difficult to find someone who wasn’t affected.
But now, like many businesses, day care centers have had issues hiring enough staff to care for children as their parents return to their places of employment, making appropriate care hard to find for many parents.
“Every place we’ve reached out to for our infant has a long wait list,” said Lansing resident Ciara Harris, a new parent who has yet to find day care for her newborn and is expected to return to work in just a few weeks.
While leaving the workforce isn’t an option for Harris, many two-income households have made the decision to tighten their belts and keep one parent home to care for the children.
Jesse Knap of Lansing was paying more than $1,000 every two weeks for day care for his children.
“My wife had to quit her job and be a stay-at-home mom to save money,” he said.
Lansing resident Jennifer Peters also left the full-time workforce related to the pandemic. The financial repercussions of the decision led her family to trim cellphone bills, reduce auto insurance and drop entertainment spending.
“I started cooking from scratch,” Peters said, noting one of the family’s cost-saving measures.
The irony is that Peters was a longtime day care worker. She said the public should know that many day care employees don’t see much income from the job. Peters was a lead infant care giver making $11.50 an hour.
“This is the reason day cares can’t find help,” Peters said.